S. Korea to permit 56,000 foreign workers with E-9 visas next year

South Korea will issue its non-professional employment visa to 56,000 foreign workers next year, the same figure set for this year's quota, government officials said Friday.

This photo, taken on Oct. 24, 2017, shows Hong Nam-ki, the minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, speaking during a press conference at the central government complex in Seoul. (Yonhap)

This photo, taken on Oct. 24, 2017, shows Hong Nam-ki, the minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, speaking during a press conference at the central government complex in Seoul. (Yonhap)

The government committee on foreign workforce policy finalized its plan for the 2018 E-9 visa quota during its 25th session presided over by Hong Nam-ki, the minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination under the prime minister's office.

The number of new foreign workers to be granted the E-9 visa next year is set at 45,000, an increase of 2,000 from this year, while the number of those who will reenter the country with the same visa will be 11,000, a decrease of 2,000.

"We have decided on the figure in consideration of the need to address a shortage of workers at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and prevent foreign laborers from taking too many jobs local residents may want to get," a government official told reporters, declining to be named.

The greatest number of E-9 visa holders will be set aside for SMEs, while the remaining workers will be asked to take jobs in the agricultural, livestock, fishery, construction and service industries, officials said.

The government also plans to cap the H-2 working visit visa quota for ethnic Koreans at 303,000, the same level as this year's.

It also decided to step up efforts to enhance the protection of foreign workers in the agricultural sector. It plans to stop assigning new foreign laborers to workplaces that have workers live in vinyl houses without providing proper accommodations. Source from the Yonhap.

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